You know the best thing about ski resorts in the summer? You don’t have to wear those damn ski- boots. You can still fly down the hill; you just do it on a zip-line, alpine slide or even an inner-tube. Here are some samples of what’s happening on the Ski Mountains of Colorado.
Breck has the 2500ft long elevated Gold Runner coaster and the 2600ft long Alpine Super Slide to whisk you down the hill without those infernal boots. It also offers chairlift rides for you and your bike. What it doesn’t offer is those ridiculously long winter lift lines, drunken spring-breakers or freezing winds they are famous for during the winter ski-season.
Yes, you can actually tube on snow at Adventure Point Tubing on Keystone Mountain during the summer. How they pull this off, I’m not exactly sure. I’m thinking they found my secret stash in the trees on the Outback; the one I almost suffocated in when I crashed into a tree-well last February. They also offer what they call, “Scenic” lift rides which, unless your lift is in an open-pit mine, should all be “Scenic.”
Most people don’t know that Winter Park is owned by the City of Denver and is actually a city park. Instead of low-riders cruising with their hip-hop blaring on a summer day in this park though, they have mountain bikers with ear buds. It’s much more peaceful that way. The mountain lays claim to Colorado’s longest Alpine slide at 3000ft with a 610ft vertical drop. They, like everyone else these days offer lifts for hiking and biking, along with dining at the top. They also have the GyroXtreme which is similar to one of those Super- Bungee trampolines most resorts have at their base, except this one makes you vomit more.
Vail Mountain has disc golf, tubing, hiking and Bar-B-Q at the top of Eagle’s Nest. They will have 4 new 1200ft zip-lines opening by August 1, 2013. They also offer one of the largest mountains in North America for hiking and biking. Trust me on this; I hiked down the mountain last summer and my thighs still hurt a year later. Now I know why I was the only one going down. Most folks ride the gondola up, hike around then ride down. This year I’m just going for the Bar-B-Q.
Copper offers free lift rides on the American Eagle lift every day during the summer. Free, that is for $10. Actually you just have to spend $10 in Copper Village to get your “Free,” lift. If their summer prices are like most resorts’ winter prices, pick up a Snickers Bar and you’re riding for free.
Want to know the difference between Aspen and Snowmass? Snowmass has the Elk Camp lift for hiking and bike riding; Aspen has the Silver Queen Gondola for yoga. Now I don’t know about you but I tried yoga at sea level once and pulled things I didn’t even know I had. I’m not too keen on reliving that experience at 11,200 ft. Aspen also boasts the highest Disc-Golf course in North America and no, this does not have anything to do with Amendment 64.
Telluride has the requisite gondola for hiking and biking but is most famous for the festivals. Though these don’t occur right on the mountain as all these other listings do, it is the king of the festival towns. They celebrate everything from balloons to bluegrass, and wine to mushrooms. They also have a yoga festival, but guess what? I won’t be there.
Don’t forget to toss your camera in your camera bag, because the mountains look a lot different in the summer!
By Michael Ryan